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to kiss or at least to touch it. When about to be restored to its repository, it is rolled up; the silver ornaments are put on the staves, and a richly-embroidered covering of silk is thrown over it, being suspended from the top, and having the silver ornaments in sight.”—I. 197.
As the article Book treats of the composition and earliest mode of transmitting the Scriptures, that on Handwriting relates to their preservation and transmission down to our own day, and has a very important bearing on the great question of the authenticity of the Bible. The subject is very well, though briefly, discussed, and is illustrated by two fac-similes: one, taken from the Codex Harleianus, Titus C. xv., has been often engraved; the other, which we here insert, is from a MS. in the same collection, “written at Rome by one John, a priest, and completed on the 25th of April, 1470, as appears by a note on the last page.” It was consequently written about thirty years after printing had been invented; but the copyist must have been an imitator of the writing of an older date, for the characters resemble those of the twelfth century far more than those of the fifteenth. *
i Bjoc repéosweitas xi. you rupior, you αβρααμ • αβρααμ erépp mot topiosae.. Todas de treuunot zoriarios .. jarcia Sirépp mot topzoud
The article Bible is very copious, and contains a large amount of historical and other information, for which we must refer the reader to
On the same page with this beautiful fac-simile is an extract from Cod. H of the Epistles of Paul, which is erroneous in giving, contrary to the fact and in opposition to the point which it is adduced as illustrating, the words as divided, instead of continuously written. In the next page is a somewhat extraordinary misinterpretation of an easy passage from a Greek Evangelistarium. It begins, Το Ε. μετά το Πασ. κ. ΙΩ. Τω καιρώ εκείνω ανoς τις εκ των φαρισαίων Νικόδημος K.7.1,--that is to say, (The Lesson) On the fifth Sunday after Easter, out of John: “At that time, a certain man of the Pharisees, Nicodemus by name,” &c. ; the commencement of a lesson from the 3rd chapter of John, according to our division. But the author of the Dictionary, though he is aware that the extract, and indeed all the extracts in the book, are taken from the Gospels, somehow translates it, “The Epistle For Easter according to John: At that time a certain man of the Pharisees, Nicodemus,” &c.
the pages of the Dictionary itself; but we extract one passage which gives a fair specimen of the spirit in which it is written, and of the author's general style, when not adhering too closely to his foreign models.
“ The prophetic books contain the warnings, teachings and prophecies of the prophets, who poured forth the burden of their righteous souls in addresses, visions and symbols, forming a class of men such as we find in no other nation, and who are of themselves sufficient to vindicate the unapproached superiority of the Hebrew literature, as an instrument of national education. Isaiah and Homer may have been contemporaries. The Grecian bard has done much for the world, but far more has been effected by the Hebrew prophet. Homer is now studied only for his poetry—Isaiah is still read for his truth. The good which the first communicates is purchased very dearly when our youths are obliged to receive, in union with the refinement of their tastes, the lowering of their moral nature, effected by ceaseless images of gods worse than men, and men engaged in low strife and brutal conflict. The blessings which the second sheds on the mind and the soul, in high spiritual realities and in pictures of ravishing beauty, which pourtray the happiness of obedience, of peace, of righteousness, generally of the prevalence of the will of a holy God, are adorned and recommended by all the qualities of the noblest poetry, and all the sanctions of the loftiest truth. Even in a literary point of view, however imperfectly the merits of the Hebrew muse have been appreciated, the Psalms and the Prophets will endure a comparison with the best productions of ancient or modern poetry; while in that which constitutes the great characteristic and the great merit of the poetic as well as the other books of the Bible, namely, their religious tone, their constant subservience to the promotion of better and higher views of God and duty, the Bible is literally without a rival; and this we say, well knowing that deductions from the high good which it achieves have to be made, partly in consequence of features to be found in its pages, but mostly because of the perversion and misuse which ignorance and fanaticism have made of those features. Irenæus of old remarked that the Bible was a book in which every one found, as well as sought, his own peculiar views--a remark, exemplifications of the truth of which every year supplies anew; for what evil, what folly, what falsehood, what delusion, has there been, for which either weak or wicked men have not pleaded some fancied or forced support drawn from the Bible? War, slavery, persecution, witchcraft, demonology, fanaticism, most varied in shapes and most baneful, the Bible has been wrested to support; and so long as the Scriptures are so little and so imperfectly studied, and so long as ignorance and narrow-mindedness are their expounders, will they continue to supply weapons to the enemies of mankind. The Bible, which has been the parent of civilisation, asks of its own offspring services to prevent its desecration; and true, healthful, high-minded religion, which owes every thing to the gradual operation in the world of the Holy Scriptures, should make it first among its earthly duties to cleanse away the defilements of that idolatry into which ignorance and passion are now, as they were of old, so prone to fall; and to vindicate for the Scriptures their just authority, by a diligent and reverential exposition of their true merits.”—I. 159, 160.
We had intended, before closing this section of our remarks, to make some observations on the article upon the Canon, in which we have not found the same clearness either of conception or expression that have gratified us in many other portions of the work, but space will not permit. The doctrine of Inspiration, however, is too important to be passed over without some notice.
The author holds that the works now collected in the Bible were written by divine inspiration, and this inspiration he conceives to
extend to all and every one of the sacred books; but at the same time he allows that they contain historical errors, that they set forth a false philosophy, and occasionally countenance an unsound morality; and even the portions of the book which do so he looks upon as inspired. Such, at least, is the impression left upon our minds by a careful perusal of the articles on the Canon and Creation ; but we may be mistaken, for we think the statements on these points are often indefinite and sometimes inconsistent. One thing, however, is quite clear-that there is in Vol. I. pp. 410, &c., a formal argument to prove that inspiration and revelation must of necessity contain error as well as truth. Now, while we hold as firmly as this writer can, to the great fact that God has revealed himself to patriarchs, prophets and apostles,—and that through their instrumentality a sufficient knowledge of the truths so revealed has been communicated to us, and may be learned from the sacred books,—we dare not attribute the quality of divine inspiration to the writings themselves, in which we find so much that is purely subjective, merely characteristic of the men and times from which they have descended, and quite unworthy of the Infinite Mind which is the source of absolute truth and perfect holiness. The casket is human, but it enshrines a precious gem of heavenly origin. To our minds, nothing can be clearer than that, whilst of necessity there must be many things known to God which never can be revealed to man, all that is revealed must be certain and infallible truth; and from this it follows, as the converse, that whatever is ascertained not to be purely and absolutely true, can never have been revealed. Instead, therefore, of continuing to call a record in which great and acknowledged mistakes are known to exist, inspired, and seeking to justify this assertion by a forced, strange and unnatural definition of that term, we think we should do more honour to the Deity, more service to the cause of religion, more justice even to the record itself, by delivering it as our opinion that the document does not claim to be inspired, and seems to have few pretensions to that character. Speaking of the narrative of the Creation in the beginning of Genesis, the writer says, “ It forms part of an inspired bookundoubtedly.” We must confess we doubt it very much; and we conceive that in the present age, and with the existing tendencies of the human mind, Christianity will never recover the ground which it has lost, nor exercise its proper and sanctifying influence upon the world, until this unfounded and dangerous theory be abandoned in word and deed. The writer of the present paper is acquainted with instances in which the dogma of inspiration, as applied to the book of Genesis, led inquiring and thoughtful persons into infidelity; from which they were only recovered by observing that it is a gratuitous hypothesis, at variance with the obvious tenor of the book itself, and, at the very most, unessential either to the Christian or the Jewish system of faith.
There cannot, in our opinion, be a fairer statement of this important question than is contained in the following paragraph from the article Inspiration ; it expresses the true state of the case with admirable brevity, clearness and point, and we cordially adopt its sentiments :
“The inspiration of the Bible is the inspiration of its great men. The record can be called inspired only so far as it bears the signatures of their minds; and misconception would be avoided if the quality of inspiration were predicated only of the minds to which it belongs, and so far as it belongs to them. We say, “so far as it belongs to them ;' because God, in making known his will, has, in conformity with the laws of his providence, employed earthen vessels,' and therefore left shades by the side of the lights in the mind and the history of his messengers.”-II. 54.
(To be continued.)
LETTERS OF MR. BELSHAM TO DR. PARR. [In a former Volume (C. R. III. 168, 169), we inserted a letter from Dr. Parr to Mr. Belsham, in acknowledgment of the latter's “ Bampton Lecturer Reproved.” We are now enabled to give Mr. Belsham's letters in reply. They fie buried in the huge mass of Correspondence published by Dr. Johnson, and will be found in Vol. VIII. of Dr. Parr's Works, pp. 153–155.]
Essex Street, March 11, 1819. Dear Sir,—Many thanks for your very kind letter of the 6th instant. You really make me quite proud by your flattering approbation of my humble performance; but I check myself by the consideration that the greatest candour always accompanies, and sometimes to a degree warps the judgment of, the strongest minds and the most splendid talents. I am much obliged by your gentle animadversions. I am sorry that Dr. Howley's name was introduced. By “spiritual Babylon,” I meant nothing more than the thraldom felt by a serious Unitarian when he feels himself compelled to use a liturgy which his conscience disapproves; I did not advert to its being understood in a more general and offensive sense. I will be more cautious in the use of the word march, and the word spread, which is a word that I abhor, shall be banished from my vocabulary. I did not, indeed, recollect that it had found a place in my book.--I have delivered your message to Dr. Rees, who rather shrinks from the title you have given him, and wishes to remain safe and snug under the appellation of Arian or Unitarian, as suits his convenience, rather than assume the new and startling epithet of a Prousian. Dr. Lindsay I have not seen.
As to Dr. Wallis's “ Considerations on the Explications of the Doctrine of the Trinity,” printed in 1693, which is, I presume, the book which
you refer to, I fear that all inquiry after it will be in vain. Mr. Lindsey had it, but I cannot get possession of it. I have Dr. Sherlock's modest “ Examination of the Oxford Degree,” 1696; and Dr. Wallis's and other answers to the Dean in the same year. From Dr. Wallis's answer, the second edition of which is dated January 3, 1695-6, I made an extract in the note, p. 29, in my reply to Moysey.
And now, dear Sir, with the ardent wish for the long-continued health and increasing happiness of yourself and Mrs. Parr, I remain, most sincerely and respectfully, yours,
Essex Street, March 23, 1819. Dear Sir, It is very remarkable that Unitarianism, or rather Socinianism, after having made so conspicuous a figure in the latter half of the 17th century, should have become totally silent for the first half of the 18th century; but for this I think two reasons may be assigned : one is, that, after the explanation of the Trinity given by Dr. Wallis, South, &c., and countenanced by the University of Oxford, the Soci. nians avowedly joined the Established Church, assuming this explanation of the doctrine in question as coincident with their own. The second reason is, that Dr. Clarke, Mr. Emlyn, Mr. Whiston, and other learned men, at the commencement of the 18th century, so powerfully advocated the doctrine of Arianism, that for a time it put every other hypothesis out of countenance. And when I first began to inquire, fifty years ago, an advocate for the proper Unitarian doctrine was hardly to be found. Dr. Lardner, indeed, who appeared to have been an early and a pure Unitarian, whose well-known maxim it was, that “the pride of Arianism would have a fall,” and who wrote his treatise on the Logos as far back as the year 1730, did not venture to publish his book till thirty years after it was written. So that when genuine Unitarianism came to be revived, avowed and defended by Mr. Lindsey, Dr. Priestley, and others, it excited as great astonishment and horror as if it had never been heard of before. And, indeed, in the simple form in which they professed it, it differed almost as much from Socinianism as it did from Athanasianism itself.
I read to Dr. Rees yesterday the message which you sent him upon the subject of Prousianism; he laughed, and said he should soon write to you, and give you his opinion about it. Our venerable friend complains of internal weakness and suffering; but it seems to be in a great measured dissipated, at least for a time, by good company and a glass of Madeira.
I will obtrude no further than by offering my best wishes for the health and happiness of yourself and Mrs. Parr, and subscribing myself, with the greatest respect, dear Sir, your obedient and obliged servant,
LIGHT READING. PERIODICALS and novels are to all in this generation, but more especially to those whose minds are still unformed and in the process of formation, a new and more effectual substitute for the plagues of Egypt-vermin that corrupt the wholesome waters and infest our chambers.-STERLING.
CRUELTY TO INSECTS. I HAVE seen a man, a religious man, press his foot down repeatedly on a small ant-hill, while a great number of the poor animals have been busy on it. I never did such a thing-never. Oh Providence! how many poor insects of thine are exposed to be trodden to death in each path; are not all beings within thy care ?-John FOSTER.
AN ARGUMENT FOR A FUTURE STATE. WERE this world our only sphere of action, we might be depressed at the thought of our unfinished plans, and of going before half of our work was done. But the very power which grasps at so much more than we can accomplish, is prophetic of a higher life. You and I have been conscious of a spiritual activity, which physical debility has prevented our bringing out. Is this to perish? Is the thirst for higher truth and holiness an illusion ? The Fountain from which our spiritual life has flowed is inexhaustible. Will our aspirations after larger communications fail ?— Dr. Channing to Blanco White -Life, III. 33.